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Gender and identity. Gender and identity French Court Dress, c. 1670: bisexual curls ans furbelows.

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Presentation on theme: "Gender and identity. Gender and identity French Court Dress, c. 1670: bisexual curls ans furbelows."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender and identity

2 Gender and identity French Court Dress, c. 1670: bisexual curls ans furbelows

3 Gender and identity “Some portion of what we men call ‘the enigma of women’ may perhaps be derived from this expression of bisexuality in women’s lives.” Sygmund Freud, “Femininity”, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1973, 165. Originally published 1933.

4 Gender and identity “Written by a feminist (Virginia Woolf), for a bisexual (Vita Sackville-West) about and androgyne (Orlando)” Pamela Caughie, “Virginia Woolf’s Double Discourse”, p. 41.

5 Gender and identity “cross-dressing has often been the sign of an extraordinary destiny. In many shamanistic cultures transvestites are regarded as sorcerers or visionaries who, because of their double nature as men dressed as women,are sources of divine authority within a community…. It is not surprising that this double nature should be seen as a sign of the sacred, when we consider the androgynous or at least bisexual nature of the deities [that] are worshiped….Androgyny, in which the two sexes co-exist in one form and which the transvestite priest imitates in his own person, is an original state of power.'.” Peter Ackroyd, Dressing Up: Tranvestism and Drag; The History of an Obsession

6 Gender and identity Fashion Show at Bullock’s Wilshire ca. 1929

7 Gender and identity Romantic Statuesque Artistic Picturesque Modern Conventional

8 Gender and identity Elegance is really just housework; by means of it the woman who is deprived of doing anything feels that she expresses what she is. To care for her beauty, to dress up is a kind of work which enables her to take possession of her person as she takes possession of her home through housework; her ego then seems chosen and re- created by herself. Social custom furthers this tendency to identify with her appearance (Beauvoir, The Second Sex, 1953.).

9 Gender and identity The nineteenth century began to use women without reservation in the production process outside the home. It did so primarily in a primitive fashion by putting them in factories. Consequently, in the course of time masculine traits were bound to manifest themselves in these women. These were caused particularly by disfiguring factory work. Higher forms of production as well as the political struggle as such were able to promote masculine features of a more refined nature. Walter Benjamin, Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism

10 Gender and identity “a repeated stylization of the body that congeals over time and produces the appearance of substance.” “continues to hold fast to and maintain the very binary system it would seem to escape (173).” Cervetti, Nancy. “In the Breeches, Petticoats, and Pleasures of Orlando.” Journal of Modern Literature. Vol 20, No. 2. Winter 1996, p. 165- 175, 174.

11 Gender and identity “two powers preside, one male, one female” (96) “live in harmony together, spiritually cooperating” (96) Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own. London: Penguin Group, 2000

12 Gender and identity Woolf, Virginia. Orlando. London: Penguin Group, 1993. “He,” (Woolf 11) “slicing at the head of a Moor” (Woolf 11), “for there could be no doubt of his sex, though the fashion of the time did something to disguise it” (11).

13 Gender and identity “crimson breeches, lace collar, waistcoat of taffeta” (Woolf 16) “scoured”, “pared” and “thrust” (Woolf 16) “shoes with rosettes on them big as double dahlias” (Woolf 16)

14 Gender and identity “oyster-coloured velvet” (Woolf 26), “her” (Woolf 26) “ready to tear his hair with vexation that the person was of his own sex (Woolf 26)

15 Gender and identity “…spending her morning in a China robe of ambiguous gender among her books; then receiving a client or two…in the same garment; then she would take a turn in the garden and clip the nut trees – for which knee-breeches were convenient; then she would change into a flowered taffeta which best suited a drive to Richmond and proposal of marriage from some great nobleman; and so back again to town, where she would don a snuff-coloured gown like a lawyer’s and visit the courts to hear how her cases were doing… and so, finally, when night came, she would more often than not become a nobleman complete from head to toe and walk the streets in search of adventure” (Woolf 153).

16 Gender and identity “different though the sexes are, they intermix” (Woolf 132) “is excessively tender-hearted” (Woolf 133) “she detested household matters” (Woolf 133) “bold and active as a man” “would burst into tears on slight provocation” (Woolf 133)

17 Gender and identity “seemed to vacillate; she was man; she was woman” (Woolf 113) “the most deplorable infirmities” (Woolf 113). “indisputably, and beyond the shadow of a doubt” (Woolf 176) “wedding ring on her finger to prove it” (Woolf 182).

18 Gender and identity “men cry as frequently and as unreasonably as women…women should be shocked when men display emotion…so, shocked she was,” (Woolf 127)

19 Gender and identity “The sky is blue,' he said, 'the grass is green.' Looking up, he saw that, on the contrary, the sky is like the veils which a thousand Madonnas have let fall from their hair; and the grass fleets and darkens like a flight of girls fleeing the embraces of hairy satyrs from enchanted woods. 'Upon my word,' he said [...], 'I don't see that one's more true than another. Both are utterly false.”

20 Gender and identity “For here again, we come to a dilemma. Different though the sexes are, they intermix. In every human being a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place, and often it is only the clothes that keep the male or female likeness, while underneath the sex is the very opposite of what it is above.” Virginia Woolf, Orlando, p. 132.

21 Gender and identity “costumes (and selves) to reveal the pure, sexless (or third-sexed) being behind gender and myth” Sandra Gilbert, “Costumes of the Mind: Transvestism as Metaphor in Modern Literature” (214-215)

22 Gender and identity



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